From the moment it hit the market, Apple’s iPhone has been an enormous success, with the introduction of each new model attended by long lines composed of people clamoring for Apple’s newest high-tech toy. Yet the iPhone is much more. Apple has changed the way that cell phones are being used; Apple has transformed the phone into a powerful media and communications device wrapped in a sleek, compact package.

Apple has positioned itself as a friend of the people, the only thing standing in the way of Microsoft’s hegemony. While this may be more of a marketing ploy than anything else, Apple is certainly a strong competitor and a leader in innovation. In the 1980s, the Macintosh stood against the PC and carved a niche in the educational, publishing and creative community. In a sense, the iPhone, serving as an entertainment device and media hub, fulfills much the same functions.

Although the iPhone started out with a price tag of $499, today the 8 GB iPhone 3G model can be purchased for as little as $49 with a two-year AT&T wireless service contract, while the 16 GB iPhone 4 starts at $199 at the same AT&T rate plan. The price of entry has come down, and the quality and capabilities have gone up. People have become aware that although it is called the iPhone, it is much more than just a phone, and the price is right.

Gone are the traditional problems associated with PDAs and other wireless devices, such as poor handwriting recognition, tiny keypads and endless function screens. The iPhone’s touchscreen, with a virtual keyboard that changes according to the application, allows the device to look like a phone when you’re making a call and to look like a keyboard when you’re sending an e-mail.

The iPhone uses the Safari browser that works much like the one on your Mac or PC except that it doesn’t support Flash. Fortunately, the entertainment options available for the device make Flash seem almost superfluous.

In a single device you can make phone calls, listen to your favorite music, surf the web, send an e-mail or watch a movie. The high-resolution 3.5 inch Retina display on the iPhone 4 provides crisp and detailed graphics with a wide viewing angle. You can buy music and video right through the iTunes store, and you can download movies and TV shows with a Wi-Fi connection.

If you’re tired of watching movies on the iPhone 4, you can make them, with a high definition video camera. When you are done shooting, you can edit your video with the included iMovie—a feature rich editing app that works much the same way as it does on the Mac.

Designed specifically for the multi-touch interface, you can tap to add a video into your project and drag and swipe to trim the length of your clips. Pinch the timeline to get a closer look. Who would’ve thought a few years ago that we would be recording and editing movies on our phones?

When you’re done editing you can e-mail your movie video to friends and family,  Or upload it to your MobileMe gallery or YouTube.

Of course, there are too many other features to list here: Face Time for video chatting, the multitasking capabilities of the IOS 4, a five megapixel still camera with LED flash, Game Center, a full-featured iPod, photos, Voice Control, Maps and, oh yes, more than 300,000 available apps. The flexibility of the iPhone ensures it is one device you will never get tired of.

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